Katie Jean Shinkle



Polaroid of the Anatomy of Deflation

Does excitement escape us when there is nothing else
         a last breath of helium, at an elevation where

balloons suffer. I have a batch wilting in my living room,
         leftover celebration I would like to forget.

Jealous of your jealousy, how the circle pulses—
         how to say anyone is number one.

Good morning, winter, what time is it,
         I return and return and in the returning,

I return to the place of my birth every year to forget,
         and in the forgetting, in the forgetting.




Polaroid of the One Abandonment Where You Felt Alive

When you feel your heartbeat in your teeth,
         what more do you want to do than gouge under the gum,

whimpering animal, wounded. Lift the tooth
         to reveal a whole ecosphere,

stratosphere. We print our own money here, someone says,
         we respect women as equals.

We do so many things that you do not, look around, and I do
         and you do. Beat inside bone, sinewy gum,

excavation under siege, how to lift the curved tops and reveal
         another way to live. I can hear myself

inside my mouth, feel the future seeping into my larynx, up, up,
         through my sinuses, into the crown of my head.




Polaroid of the Anatomy of Postmodern Industrialization

I must not be idle you say but what
cyborg is this who laid to rest,
in a manger sleeping.

What to do with human idle, being—
what organs, what temperature, what chest.
One way in, cooked, so as to not poison.
What happens
when the poison happens anyway.

Our bodies, half-machine. Our bodies,
full-machine. Replace body part
with metal, with sewage. My heart valves
plugged with waste.
Keep throwing more in, even though
we know the damage it's doing.




Polaroid of the Anatomy of Cyclical Thinking

This museum corridor where our organs are on display,
         have you ever seen a beating heart move so rapidly. What to make of a thump

that has too many notes to a melody.

Abandoned houses in the woods. A lake
         we cannot walk around, a boat launch for our boats

if we had any. Instead, our nerves. Look at this view,
         water, time. Look at the sun in the trees overhead.

I am in slow motion and now in the city. I am nostalgic for bravery.
         When I put my hand on the back of your neck,

what more did I mean but sky. I kiss your chest scars, deep black, smooth silk nude,
         they are my lifeline to you. What more can I do

but hold memory harder, as if disappearing.